13 SCARY REASONS WHY I RUN PERSONAL RACES
Perhaps these reasons are not frightening in the usual sense. But I am a bit afraid to reveal myself by sharing. Most reasons others give for racing in organized events are much more social and not so intense. However running is unique in that that I can assess my capabilities and weaknesses decide on a plan, put in the work, and hope to experience a benefit. This is the no-nonsense side of running that cheers and high-fives don't penetrate. It's inside.
PURPOSE: running just for running sake isn’t motivation enough to keep working on all the components of training necessary to be strong and free of injury into the future. Having a personal race gives me reason to do what needs to be done every day.
CONCENTRATION: having multiple personal races scheduled throughout the year allows me to focus on a specific area of training for each race, then observe the effects of this focused work on how I felt or performed in competition. The areas may be those previously neglected in training or natural tendencies.
REALITY CHECK: in competition I can’t deceive myself about level of fitness or preparedness; race performance tells the true story. Scheduling frequent races doesn’t allow too much time to elapse between checks.
THE RECORD: each time I race is a chance to better my personal record. It doesn't need to be better each race, but the opportunity is there.
HARD TRAINING: training plans begin with relatively easy workouts that progressively become more difficult. Without a goal race, I would be much less likely to train at higher levels.
FRESH AIR: and sunshine, snow, rain, sunrises and sunsets. Although personal races can be run indoors on a treadmill, most times they are run outdoors because of the long distances involved. The time of day and year, the weather conditions, and the location can be set by me to enjoy the great outdoors whenever and wherever I wish.
SELF-DISCOVERY: what I am made of and what drives me is revealed by my perseverance in training for and competing in races I’ve set as goals. And how I recover from disappointment.
EXCITEMENT: long runs, intervals, hill repeats, stretches, strength sessions, foam rolling, and cross training do not provide thrills; putting it all on the line in competition does this.
EXPLORATION: just as racing in organized events allows participants to experience new venues, so it is in personal races, but there’s no crowd, noise, or commercialization. A bit more work may be required to map out courses in unfamiliar territory, but there are unlimited possibilities of places to explore, and the opportunity to make last minute corrections in a self-designed event.
COMRADERIE: even racing alone in one place I can be racing ‘in spirit’ with others in distant locations at the same or alternate times. Just as a game of chess can be played by two people in separate and faraway places, races can be run by two or more competitors. Personal races also allow me to run competitively and still have time and resources left to enjoy friends and family who are not into running. Everything and everyone in my life doesn’t need to revolve around my running habit.
SATISFACTION: some may say completing a race brings with it a sense of accomplishment; I say it is a feeling of satisfaction. The training is the accomplishment, but the finish is sweet satisfaction. The more race finishes, the greater the sweetness.
OLD AGE: training to remain injury-free for racing leaves me in better shape to grow old with less disability from muscle weakness, decreased joint mobility, soft tissue stiffness, and poor balance. I hope!
PRIVACY: personal races can be very private events when sharing isn’t the object. I and others competing with me are the only ones who knows when, on a given weekend or weekday morning, we are on a training run or racing. It’s a form of freedom.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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